I've read a little on some power strips made by companies such as Mapleshade. Their claim is that it 'cleans' up the current so that music is noticeably improved. Anyone tried one of these? They're not cheap and if there's not some real improvement I hate to waste the bucks.
I can only see something like that helping if you have a problem with the AC power you're using in the 1st place. I doubt you'll find any best-selling artist/producer who would credit their success to the power strip they use. It's about the talent & music but sales engineers will always be around with some product that promises to give give you that edge.
We're such suckers for that line because we're artists and most artists are basically insecure! Devise something technical that supposedly addresses those insecurities and you gotta customer willing to pay $200 for a power strip!
That said, I haven't tried the thing so it's impossible for me to say without a doubt if it does or doesn't do anything positive. My limited technical background tells me NO but I've been wrong before so keep that in mind. But, I can't imagine how somebody could pay that price and NOT hear something different either? What a racket...
Before you spend any money, read this entire thread.
If you're not having problems, I'm dubious that these things would offer any audible improvement. If you are experiencing hum or other noises, there are so many other things to try first, like checking the grounding.
I'd advice extreme caution when looking at some devices that "magically" improve the audio. Unless someone can demonstrate to me in a blind A/B test that there is any noticable difference between a high-end power strip and a $2 device from Wal-Mart (which hasn't happened so far), I happily recommend the cheap device.
There is not technical reason why a power strip, a power cord or any sort of power conditioner should make a difference. Our system (and many others too) are designed to deal with all sorts of AC power fluctuation and have high quality internal regulators. These regulate with much higher precicison that any external device could do anyway, so "conditioning" or "cleaning" up the AC power doesn't make any audible difference whatsoever.
Oops, that slipped by, thanks for reminding me. Surge protectors are not a bad thing, although the PS1 has (again) build in surge protection. "Surge" means a lot of voltage coming through the power over a short period of time. That's pretty rare and the main cause is lightning, some accidents involving power lines (mostly on poles) being cut and touching something they shouldn't (e.g. the wrong side of a power transformer) and some really big compressors (e.g. industrial-sides freezers or fridges) turning on or off.
With the exception of lightning and some very bad power accidents, the PS1 can handle that all fine by itself. With lightning, anything is possible. No piece of equipment that I know will survive a direct hit into a directly connected power line. But then again lightning might strike a few blocks (and transformers) away in which case a surge protector might be able to take the first hit and die quickly enough to protect the attached equipment.
In this regard even cheap surge protectors will work fairly well and there is only a really small number of cases where a cheap and very expensive surge protector might make a difference.
On a side node, its a good idea to have all equipment that connects to the PS1 on the same power strip. That helps with ground loops. On the other hand it's not a good idea to turn things on and off with the switch on the power strip. That may cause your fuse to blow (due to the so-called "in-rush current") and might result in pops and clicks.
The proper way to turn things on is to follow the signal, i.e.
What about the power signal itself? There were some other posts I recall about problems with A/C generators -- I presume because of the non-sinusoidal waveforms some generators create. How 'clean' does the A/C need to be? (e.g.: no triangular nor square waves, no more than 10% harmonics ....)??
I don't think we have a hard spec on the exact shape of the line voltage since that is rarely a problem.
With generators the trouble is more often the actual voltage itself. The PS1 works fine if the line voltage is somewhere between 80V and 132V. That can be an issue with a generator if they are not properly sized and if certain other equipment is attached.
Problematic can be if something with a large compressor (like a big fridge or freezer) is on the same generator than the PS1 (or any other electrical equipment). The generator has to work hard to keep the compressor going and when the compressor shuts off, there is all that energy that needs to go somewhere until the generator had a chance to throttle down. That can result in a significant voltage increase.
Same goes in reverse when the compressor starts up. The voltage can drop quite a bit until the generator has caught up.